Friday, April 2, 2021

Kris Clink Interview - Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy

Photo Credit: Kacy Meineke

Kris Clink writes about relatable characters who rely on humor and tenderness to navigate their complicated relationships. Set in middle America, her novels are laced with love, heartbreak, and just enough snarky humor to rock the boat.

Calling Texas home for most of her life, Kris now lives in Kansas. She and her husband have filled their empty nest with two spoiled-rotten pups. When not writing, Kris is searching for an open karaoke mic and an understanding audience. She welcomes the opportunity to appear at your book club.


Where were you born and where do you call home?
Born and raised in Amarillo, TX, I lived there until we moved to Wichita, KS two years ago.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
My novel doesn’t come out until April, so I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I have always wanted to write novels, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to begin. In college, I considered becoming an English major, but changed my mind when I read the class list—an entire semester studying Chaucer? No thank you.

After years of putting off my writing adventure, my husband asked if I’d like to quit my job and “write that book?” I was in my mid-forties, but I’d been thinking about setting a book in the Texas Hill Country for years, so that’s where it began.

Tell us your latest news.
The book has received positive reviews from some of my favorite authors and Kirkus. Last week, Frolic listed it on its “12 Covers We Are Falling In Love With” article. We just completed audiobook production, using two narrators to voice Lark and Wyatt’s story. I’m an avid audiobook listener and had a blast being able to participate in the auditions and edits—it’s exciting to hear your words spoken by talented narrators.

Can you tell us when you started GOODBYE, LARK LOVEJOY, how that came about?
More than a decade ago, we visited San Antonio to watch our oldest daughter perform in a musical in San Antonio. She was adamant we see Gruene, Texas while we were in town. When I stepped out of the car and saw those giant live oaks, a strange buzz was in the air. I let myself get quiet and really listen to it. Sure, it was probably just the breeze, but to this day, I contend there’s something magical there.

We took a family photo in front of those trees, and I keep it on my office’s bulletin board to remind myself I’m playing the long game.

After lunch at The Grist Mill, we popped next door to peek inside the Gruene Dance Hall. The floorboards gave a little beneath my feet, and I knew, then and there, whatever form my (yet unwritten) book took, I’d set it around that dance hall.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
Whether earned in physical or emotional battles, everyone carries scars, and I’d want my readers to know they’re not alone in whatever pain they carry.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Lark? 
Lark has a way of getting herself into trouble by assuming too much or speaking too soon, but she isn’t afraid to learn from her mistakes. Also, she has a saltier side (with her humor). As the first character I’d written, Lark taught me the importance of complex, layered character profiles.

  • 1) In the book, the Gruene Wine Fest and Oktoberfest are set on consecutive weekends. In reality, they take place over the same weekend.
  • 2) The TED Talk mentioned in one of the first chapters is real, and I didn’t discover it until I’d completed an earlier version of the manuscript. Don’t want to spoil it for readers—when you arrive at the end of the book, you’ll get that significance.
  • 3) I must’ve played Jon Pardi’s Head Over Boots a thousand times while writing this book.
  • 4) Originally, Charlie was the older brother. Eventually, I decided to name him Jamie, after their father and demote Charlie to younger brother status.
  • 5) Some of the businesses and restaurants are real. Fredericksburg is a lovely town, filled with some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
  • 6) The winemaking research was fun and allowed me to reconnect with a childhood friend I hadn’t seen since junior high. She runs the tasting room at Lewis Wines in Johnson City.
  • 7) I spent days figuring out the name of a French-owned company, one that would create an interesting acronym. I think Foudre Unifie worked. ; )
  • 8) Originally, the book included chapters set in Afghanistan and Germany. While there were cut, they helped me get to know Wyatt and his experiences in the Army.
  • 9) Lark’s childhood friend, Bianca came to me in the middle of the night. She was one of the most fun characters to write and made me laugh out loud while typing her lines.
  • 10) Originally, Wyatt’s job wasn’t just to sell the community on the wind turbines. He was there installing them. I didn’t know the Hill Country was an “energy neutral” area, disallowing turbines, oil wells, and the like. 
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Much like in the movie, Sabrina, the main character said, “I went for long walks and met myself in Paris,” it’s important for each of us to step away from our families and friends, to explore, and discover our potential, even if it’s only a trek along the outskirts of town.

Best date you've ever had? 
I’d like to think it’s different versions of the same date I’d enjoyed with my husband over the years—usually, at home, cooking dinner together. One great date doesn’t make a relationship, but hundreds of them over the years is outstanding.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? 
My mid-twenties, just before we started our family. You learn so much over the years. There are so many experiences we rush through, thinking, “if I can just get through this, we can do that.” Later, you’d give anything to go back and enjoy the most tedious times.” That goes for writing, too. I wish I had given myself the time to write back when I thought I was supposed to be doing other things. I think I would’ve been a happier mom and happier with myself.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer? 
Hanging out with some amazing writers, including my favorite, Kristan Higgins, at a karaoke bar in Denver the night before a conference.

First Heartbreak? 
In middle school. I was too young and put too much of my esteem into the way boys reacted to me. Can I add that to my redo list? (two questions back)

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
Probably, when I spent a week in New York City by myself. I’d only been there once before and hadn’t really explored much beyond Broadway. I met with my editor, but other than our meeting, I had no plans. Each morning, I strapped on my backpack, walked around the city until I found a great spot to write and that’s just what I did. I’d liken it to my Sabrina moment. I met myself in NYC that weekend.

My research trips to the Texas Hill Country would be a close second—the people were so gracious and it’s just beautiful down there.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
Oh, hands down, definitely true love with the guarantee of a heart break.

Lark's lost her husband, and the expiration date has come and gone on her fake-it-till-you-make-it "Happy Mommy Show." Healing her broken family requires drastic measures--like returning to her hometown in the Texas Hill Country. But she's going to need more than clean air and a pastoral landscape to rebuild a life for her and her young sons.

After years of putting off her dream of becoming a winemaker, Lark puts every cent into a failing vineyard, determined to work through her grief and make a brighter future for her children. The last thing she expects is to fall in love again. Especially not with Wyatt Gifford, an injured Army vet with a past of his own to conquer.

Coming home may not be the reset Lark imagined, but it does take her on a journey filled with humor and reconciliation--one that prepares her for a courageous comeback.

You can purchase Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KRIS CLINK for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy by Kris Clink.